The Government’s recent apprenticeship reforms are intended to support an increase in the quality and quantity of apprenticeships, including those in logistics.
They will be funded by the introduction of the new levy – paid by those employers with a salary bill of over £3m – and are founded on the principle that employers should have more control over the design of training so that it is better aligned to workforce planning, including upskilling the existing workforce but also developing a talent pipeline for the future.
As part of the apprenticeship reforms new standards are being introduced. These describe the skills and knowledge that an individual requires to be fully competent in an occupation and are co-designed by employers to ensure relevance and an understanding across each sector.
They also require an apprentice to undertake training away from the job for at least 20% of their apprenticeship time and have the skills and knowledge they gain evaluated by independent ‘end-point’ assessors.
New standards approved for delivery – for which Pearson has developed learning programmes, end-point assessment services and training resources – include LGV Driver, Supply Chain Operator and Supply Chain Warehouse Operative. Those lined up for approval include Express Delivery Operative and a degree-level Supply Chain Leadership Professional apprenticeship. These have been developed in direct response to demand from employers for training to support workforce planning.
There is a shortage of around 60,000 LGV drivers in the UK, according to the Freight Transport and Road Haulage Associations, with a projected rise to 150,000 by 2020 as a result of growth in technology and on-line delivery but also as a result of changes in demographics – people working longer plus the need to attract new talent into these roles.
Apprenticeships, as a key route for upskilling the existing workforce – and also a way to attract new recruits into the industry – are one of the solutions to this challenge of skills shortage. They also provide one answer to the problem of retention; the logistics industry’s staff turnover rate is ten percentage points higher than the UK average. 75% of apprentice employers, according to research published by the Apprenticeship Bureau, say that apprenticeship schemes reduce staff turnover and lower recruitment costs.
The reforms arrive in tandem with new investment in training. The Government is launching a series of Institutes of Technology – a network of prestigious organisations with state-of-the-art facilities across the UK designed to offer high quality training and education, including apprenticeships in higher level technical skills up to degree level and beyond.
Plans for an Institute for Technology for the logistics sector – the result of a partnership between North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College and Aston University – have recently been approved.
The introduction of standards to support the logistics sector and the approval of the Institute of Technology are in direct response to skills gaps in the sector and at Pearson we have been working with employers to support the important issue of responding to this challenge. We know how important securing the future of skills is to our economy and that’s why skills development is embedded in our strategy. From apprenticeships services to our research into the long-term future of skills and employment, engagement with employers underpins everything we do in developing products, services and insights to help us secure a skilled and productive UK workforce.
Cindy Rampersaud – Senior Vice President for BTEC and Apprenticeships, Pearson.
Tel: 0845 630 6666